Allison Ciullo (Class of 2008)
When I was researching law schools, the clinic program at New England School of Law was a huge draw to the school which influenced my decision regarding where to apply and eventually attend. In speaking to attorneys I often heard that New England School of Law graduates are highly skilled lawyers, many with very active litigation practices. Based on my experiences in the clinical program and hearing from my peers who participated in other clinics, the high population of active New England School of Law graduates comes as no surprise. I have had ample opportunity to get first-hand experience in many different fields of law, and this has lessened much of the anxiety about shifting from the classroom and into practice after graduation.
I interned at the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office during the summers after my first and second years. This experience definitely pointed me in the direction of criminal law, but I wanted to also get some exposure to civil practice and administrative law. During the fall of my second year I participated in the Public Interest Clinic by working at NESL's Clinical Law Office (CLO). Practicing under the student practice rule, S.J.C. Rule 3:03, I personally handled divorce, custody, and Social Security cases, and had the opportunity to go to court. The CLO is an excellent first step for practice experience since the supervisors are full-time faculty members and are extremely helpful when necessary, but also give a lot of respect and responsibility to the students. It was a great learning environment for developing attorney-client relationships, while also having a supervisor who was there to help answer any questions or concerns.
During the fall of my third year I was able to continue my position with the District Attorney's Office through the Criminal Procedure II Clinic. I would highly recommend this clinic to anyone considering criminal law since I saw virtually everything that could be required of an attorney at the district court level. It also gave me countless opportunities to argue in court during arraignments, pre-trial conferences, motion hearings, and even bench trials. In many respects 3:03 student attorneys are given the same scope of duties as full-time Assistant District Attorneys which was excellent practice for after graduation.
In addition to clinical program, I also took advantage of the Honors Judicial Internship, working for Judge Chin in Superior Court, to gain even more practical experience. Through the internship I observed proceedings, interacted with judges, and got real-life practice researching and writing judicial memos and opinions. This internship, coupled with my clinic positions, helped me secure a judicial clerkship for the year following graduation. I would highly recommend the clinics at New England School of Law to all students since they are available for virtually all areas of law. More importantly, they add to the learning experience of law school by providing first-hand exposure and helping to direct students into the fields that they will eventually want to practice.